An announcement from Wiltshire Council has confirmed plans to bring all of its leisure centres, including Melksham Blue Pool, under its own management, with the transition coming into effect from October. The change means the Blue Pool and the gym based there will fall under direct management by Wiltshire Council later this year.
Melksham Councillor Jon Hubbard commented, "I hope that this change will prove to be pretty seemless for the users of this popular facitlity and for the great staff team who have worked so hard to keep the facility operational.
"Whilst we are still waiting for the Campus to finally be completed it is important that we protect the Blue Pool and the Gym there. The closure of Christie Miller was a body blow to the town and we cannot afford to lose any more leisure facilities.
"I trust that Wiltshrie Council will do all that is necessary to ensure that the few remaining Melksham leisure facilities remain operational until the Campus opens next year. I will be doing all I can to make sure that Wiltshire Council keeps its word on this."
Wiltshire Council says it wants to improve the physical and mental health and wellbeing of its communities, and in December 2020, Cabinet made the decision to bring council leisure centres back in-house, which supports the council's ambition to provide an equitable level of quality leisure services across the county, with the aim of creating a more active Wiltshire.
The council currently operates 10 leisure centres across the south and east of the county, with 10 leisure centres in the north and west of the county that are managed on behalf of the council by Places Leisure. From October 2021, all leisure centres will be managed by Wiltshire Council.
The leisure centres that will move from Places Leisure to Wiltshire Council management are:
- Bradford on Avon Swimming Pool
- Castle Place Leisure Centre, Trowbridge
- Lime Kiln Leisure Centre, Royal Wootton Bassett
- Leighton Recreation Centre, Westbury
- Melksham Blue Pool & Gym
- The Activity Zone, Malmesbury
- The Olympiad, Chippenham
- Trowbridge Sports Centre
- Warminster Sports Centre
- Westbury Swimming Pool
It is anticipated that Places Leisure staff will transfer to become Wiltshire Council employees, and plans are ongoing to ensure a smooth transition for Leisure centre users.
Cllr Ian Blair-Pilling, Wiltshire Council Cabinet Member for Leisure, said:
“The COVID pandemic has heightened the need for us to look after our health and wellbeing. We want to create as much opportunity as possible for our residents to be active, get healthy and stay well.
“Our priority is to ensure that staff and users of these leisure centres enjoy a smooth transition to our management.
“I'd like to thank Places Leisure for being tremendous partners and supporting our running of leisure services in the county.”
All leisure members will be regularly updated on any changes as a result of the transition.